Lawmaker introduces bill to make Diwali a federal holiday in US
New Delhi/Washington: US lawmaker Grace Meng has introduced a bill in the US Congress to declare Diwali a federal holiday in the US.
Grace Meng, a Democrat member of the House of Representatives, in a tweet said: “Today, I was proud to announce the introduction of the Diwali Day Act, my bill that would make Diwali a federal holiday. Thank you to all my government colleagues and the many advocates who joined me to express their support.”
The Diwali Day Act, when passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President, would make Diwali the 12th federally recognised holiday in the US.
“Diwali is one of the most important days of the year for billions of people across the globe, and for countless families and communities in Queens, New York, and the United States,” said Congresswoman Meng.
“Diwali celebrations, are a wonderful time here in Queens, and each year it is easy to see just how important this day is to so many people. America’s strength is derived from the diverse experiences, cultures and communities that make up this nation. My Diwali Day Act is one step toward educating all Americans on the importance of this day, and celebrating the full face of American diversity. I look forward to shepherding this bill through Congress,” she said.
Diwali represents the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. While the holiday holds a different significance for various cultural, ethnic and religious groups, the Festival of Lights is universally a time for celebration, reflection, prayer and gatherings with loved ones. Diwali will be celebrated later this year on November 12, said a press statement.
Establishing a federal holiday for Diwali, and the day off it would provide, would allow families and friends to celebrate together, and demonstrate that the government values the diverse cultural makeup of the nation.
Meng has also pushed to make Diwali a school holiday in her hometown of New York City.
The bill has been sponsored by 14 members of the House -- 13 Democrats and a Republican.
Organisations backing the bill include Indian Diaspora Council, Sikh Coalition, International Commission on Dalit Rights, Indo-Caribbean Alliance, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Asian American Federation (AAF), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), The Sikh Cultural Society, Hindu Temple Society of North America, Hindus for Human Rights, Coalition of Hindus of North America and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC.
(With UNI inputs)